You all know how deeply I love cupcakes, right? And how dearly I love lemon desserts? It pains me to say that although I’ve had a scrumptious, “I-shoved-the-whole-thing-in-my-mouth” experience with a fantastic lemon cupcake from The Cupcake Shoppe, I’ve also had an “I-can’t-believe-this-comes-from-the-same-place” lackluster experience with a lemon cupcake from The Cupcake Shoppe. How can that be? Well, they have two kinds of lemon cupcakes. And one of them makes me drool at the mere thought of it (can someone hand me a napkin?) while the other can only muster an “ehhh….” from my cupcake loving heart. It’s true, folks. There’s a cupcake out there that didn’t make me wiggle with glee and do a happy dance. It’s the tale of two lemon cupcakes and the cupcakes couldn’t be more different.
There are two different kinds at The Cupcake Shoppe: Lovn’ Lemon and Lemon Drop. Now, let me preface this by saying that I’ve featured cupcakes from here on a number of different occasions on the blog and although not every cupcake was my be-all and end-all favourite, I definitely loved three: the Red Velvet, the Cookie Dough, and the Naughty n’ Spice. So why the drama with the lemon ones? Because they’re polar opposites.
The Lemon Drop is such a winner. It’s everything you could want in a delicious cupcake. And my boyfriend will attest to how much I enjoyed this cupcake. On the day that I ate this, I was an absolute doofus and ended up going to two cupcakeries that were closed and walking for miles because I was too stubborn to go home without a cupcake. When I finally had this cupcake in my little hands, I took one bite and then proceeded to SHOVE the remanining 3/4 in my mouth in one motion because it was that good. My taste buds and heart cried out in happiness because not only did I get that sought after cupcake, but I got my hands on a sure as hell scrumptious one that satisfied.
The vanilla cake was moist, the top was golden brown and toasty (a feature of their vanilla cupcakes that I really like), and the frosting was FABULOUS. You know how in my Daniel et Daniel post a week ago I was discussing the complexities of the lemon flavour in desserts? And how it can either turn out lip-puckering, nasty sour or sickly, artificially sweet? The Cupcake Shoppe’s Lemon Drop hits the nail on the head with the lemon flavour in their frosting. It has that luscious full-bodied sweet and citrus balance that envelopes your tastes buds when you taste it. It’s a frosting, but it manages to convey that juicy sweet lemon flavour in solid form. It’s like drinking lemonade in a frosting. And the frosting itself is a FROSTING in that sense of the word if you know what I mean, with that thick, sweet texture that fills your mouth. It’s not the whippy, buttery topping that tops most of their cupcakes.
That light, whippy buttercream that they frost most of their cupcakes with isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I love the Cookie Dough and Naughty n’ Spice, don’t I?), although I know there are many who don’t prefer that style of frosting. It is, however, the type of frosting they use on their other lemon cupcake, Lov’n Lemon. And how I wish I could love it. But I don’t. The lemon flavour in the Lemon Drop cupcake was bang on. In Lov’n Lemon? WEAK. It didn’t deliver because it was waaaaay too subtle. The flavour was almost completely lost and there was no dimension to it. Whereas the Lemon Drop had texture and multiple “notes” so to speak, the Lov’n Lemon was too flat. Don’t get me wrong, the chocolate cake that the frosting was sitting on was great because it was moist and soft. The cupcake just didn’t do the lemon flavour justice and it’s a shame because it’s so pretty! But trust me on this, if I’m going to recommend a lemon cupcake to you, go for the Lemon Drop and avoid the Lov’n Lemon.
I know cupcakes are pretty and cute and froo-froo and all, but they’re a lot more complex than what people might think. When a frosting misses the mark, the cupcake itself, as a whole, misses the mark. When the cake is just so-so (and I mean so-so, I don’t mean awful!) but the frosting is fantastic, it can still be okay because the frosting can compensate for what the cake may lack. Sigh. So there you have it folks, a genuine look and taste at two lemon cupcakes from the same place that don’t hit all the same notes. And that’s okay! Not everything is going to be fireworks amazing all the time and I think the important thing to take away is the experience itself. Not so great? That’s okay. Move on and keep learning. I look on the bright side. At least I got a pretty scrapbook layout out of it 😀
Previous Cupcake Shoppe blog entries:
The Cupcake Shoppe is located in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood at 2417 Yonge St., north of Eglinton on the east side of Yonge St.
Scrapbook materials used: violet cardstock (Recollections); lime green and bright pink patterned paper (Lime Garden by K&Company); white paper; lemon slice sticker (Sticko); violet and blue floral dimensional embellishments (Grand Adhesions by K&Company); alphabet stickers (K&Company); black Sharpie felt tip marker.